Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Wet n Wild: Your First Makeup is Your Next Skincare

Wet n Wild was many girls’ first makeup purchase at the drugstore in the 1980s.  And in the 1990s and 2000s because it is STILL only 99 cents for some lipsticks and nail polishes.

In my last two posts, I was wearing Silk Finish Lipstick: Fuchsia with Blue Pearl by Wet n Wild (99 cents at Walgreens).  

Before those posts, I hadn’t purchased a Wet N Wild product in at least 25 years.  But I vividly remember their glittery nail polishes and original 1980s packaging. Bethany at Reware Vintage unearthed these relics from the 1980s on a buying trip and took photographic evidence of her discovery:

Thanks, Bethany!

Wet n Wild was launched in Brooklyn in 1979 and then moved to Los Angeles in 2003 when it was purchased by Markwins International. They have always been cruelty-free and according to their website, sell a black eyeliner every 20 seconds.  How they figured that out, I don’t know, but it’s a pretty impressive stat. They also claim to be the first company to introduce black nail polish into drugstores, “fulfilling the dreams of goth kids everywhere.”

While exploring their website, I was surprised to discover that “for the first time in Wet n Wild history” they are introducing skincare, “a new territory” they are excited to explore.  The skincare collection is part of their Rebel Rose Limited Edition Collection, which features makeup brushes that look like roses with black, thorny stems. Rebel Rose has a gothic vibe, inviting you to “get lost in a secret garden surrounded by hauntingly delicate roses with an unexpected dark twist”, daring you to be “delicately strong, chicly grunge or eerily gorgeous.”  Very cool. I think I’m starting to like this new Wet n Wild!

The Rebel Rose Skincare Collection contains a Multi-Use Oil, Toner, Serum, Lip Balm and Lip Scrub for $24.99. Since I am often on the hunt for good skincare products, especially those containing Rose, I ordered it online (I have not seen these products in drugstores).

The first product I tried was the Lip Scrub.  It felt productively rough and it seemed to do a nice job exfoliating my lips.  It has a nice, sweet taste, is edible and leaves behind a pretty sheen.

On another occasion, I used the Tint of Corruption Jelly Lip Balm (the box includes two of these).  I was ready for a dark plum color or even black, something intense and goth. It’s nothing like that and bears little resemblance to lipstick.

It is, I suppose, a stick of jelly and is actually really really great.  Once applied, the color is a muted dark rose with a subtle purple tint. I now use a Tint of Corruption whenever I want a bit of color and shine.  Plus, I get a kick out of the name.

Everything, by the way, is in glass containers except for the jelly balm and all labeling is in English and French.  

Next up was the PhotoFocus Primer Serum.  I used it in the morning after I washed my face.  Its rose fragrance is natural and understated, more like rose water.   The serum has a watery consistency, and I used a lot of it, spreading it over my face in thin layers.  This experience was pleasant, like thinning out paint on a canvas. It was a little shiny and ever so slightly tacky on my skin.  A primer, I believe, is a prelude to makeup. So I then put powder on my face and it seemed to hold onto the powder well.

That night, I sprayed a whole lot of the PhotoFocus Rose Toner (which also has a soft, non-cloying rose scent similar to the serum) onto a cotton pad and wiped my face with it.  It took off so much dirt! My face didn’t feel tight afterward, so even though it has alcohol it wasn’t too drying.

The next morning, I used the PhotoFocus Multi-Purpose Oil.  I’m a big believer in moisturizing one’s face with an oil. Back in the 80s I’d never do that.  Face care was all about oil control and drying out acne with Sea Breeze Astringent. I also routinely traumatized my skin with Buf-Pufs and Aapri Facial Scrub.  Check out the copy of this print ad from the April 1985 issue of Vogue (thank you, Rachel!):

Stop babying your skin, brutalize it

Tough, rough, coarse, more concentrated, more abrasive than ever….Why not just rub sandpaper on your face?  My skin feels raw just reading these words.

But Wet n Wild’s Multi-Purpose Oil was the complete opposite of that feeling.  It was heavenly! The scent was lovely, like the other products. I massaged a generous amount into my face.  Over the next few hours, the oil sank into my skin, which felt pillowy soft and hydrated all day. My face was not greasy or oily in the least.

The verdict?  For $24.99 (and they threw in a few makeup samples) this is a good deal.   The quality of these products is high, and they are not sample sized. I like that even the droppers in the serum and oil bottles are made of glass.   In all honesty, I am impressed. I’m sure I will use these products and enjoy them.


  1. In my household the basics we're Noxzema cold cream, Coco butter and Jean Nate. I had to go on beauty finding missions to Duane Reade to find out what toner even was! The only Wet n Wild thing I wore was their black eyeliner. It was one of the few inexpensive liners that you didn't necessarily need to heat with a lighter to make it blacker.Lol

  2. I didn't know Wet N Wild was the first to have black nail polish, but I do remember using it as a kid (and later as a teenage punk). The kit sounds cool, I'll keep an eye out for it!

  3. That lip scrub sounds awesome. Thanks!


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